Body Positivity vs. Medical ‘Truths’: Obesity and the Cultural Production of Shame

Blog by Tanisha Jemma Rose Spratt In August 2019 US television host Bill Maher stated on national television that in order to tackle the US’s growing “obesity problem” fat-shaming needs to make a “come back”. Arguing for a greater emphasis on personal responsibility when it comes to food consumption and exercise, Maher claimed that “some […]

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The Dawn of Healer-Therapist in South Africa

Blog by Mzikazi Nduna, Stanley Molefi, Kamogelo Sefanyetso and Boitumelo Oliphant Department of Psychology, University of the Witwatersrand This blog is part one of a two-part sequence. Read the second part here. In his online profile, Anele Siswana introduces himself as a psychologist with an ‘isintu’ flavour and so does Nompumelelo Prudence Kubeka from uKhamba […]

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Paper Chain Nation

Blog by Katy Giebenhain On this side of the pond access to medicines is called “complicated” and that’s no accident. As Fran Quigley points out in his introduction to Prescription for the People: An Activist’s Guide to Making Medicine Affordable, calls for reform get bogged down in technical terms and acronyms. Furthermore, he writes, “[T]his […]

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What’s at Hand?

Blog by Swati Joshi As a Medical Humanities researcher, I have always wondered how we learn about our body through language and how our anatomy forms the metaphorical elements of the linguistic corpus. This piece attempts to map the transformation in our understanding of hands in the face of the pandemic of COVID-19. Language has […]

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Numbness and Angels

Reflection by Clare Best Risk-reducing bilateral mastectomy, December 2006. We have breast cancer in the family, on my mother’s side. While I was starting to think about whether to have preventive surgery, my cousin developed multiple aggressive tumours. This meant that in two generations of women I was the only one who had not yet […]

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Immunity-Based Licenses and the Politics of the Body

Blog by Insa Marie Schmidt, MD, MPH As COVID-19 continues to ravage the globe, several countries have now proposed to issue certifications proving that a person has developed immunity against the disease, either through recovery from infection or through a potential vaccine. These so-called “immunity passports” or “immunity-based licenses” would allow those who have antibodies […]

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Human Trafficking: The Implications of COVID-19

Blog by Sonal Sian and Shalini Jose COVID-19 has had significant effects on vulnerable populations by exacerbating their exploitation and rendering them more susceptible to poor health outcomes. One particularly vulnerable population that has not received much attention is human trafficking victims. This is especially the case in India, where discussions about trafficking and its […]

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